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Why Are We Hungry? Part 2: Hunger Is The Product Of Multiple Perceptions And Motivations, Sometimes Conflicting
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July 20, 2011
4:53 am
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Caution: contains SCIENCE!

clearly establishes the following, which I hope is non-controversial:

Hunger is not a singular motivation: it is the interaction of several different clinically measurable, provably distinct mental and physical processes.

This is intuitively obvious to everyone: hunger is not a generic drive, satisfiable by shoving a generic substance called "food" into our mouths. The fantasy of "food pills" remains squarely in the Future That Never Was, along with flying cars and nuclear power too cheap to meter.

While a bewildering variety of "meal…

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July 20, 2011
5:03 am
Calvin
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"Food reward is not simply a physical property of a taste stimulus itself…Palatability, or the hedonic component of food reward, instead results from a central integrative process that can incorporate aspects not only of the taste, but of the physiological state and the individual’s associative history."

Very interesting. The memories and good experiences I've had eating certain foods definitely reinforce my wanting to eat them again. Sushi for instance, I was praised to being able to handle the heat of wasabi.

“In the presence of visible fats, energy intake was lower than in the presence of hidden fats, suggesting that hidden fats may contribute to overconsumption.”

Hamburgers don't really look fattening do they? French fries even look like health food.

Can't wait to read your book

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July 20, 2011
6:42 am
Bodhi
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I've enjoyed both parts 1 and 2 of the "Why we are hungry". It is cool to look at the science of why we get hungry. Will you be addressing the other component of eating, "The psychology of Why We Eat"? We eat because we are bored, angry, and a host of other emotions, both positive and negative. We eat for entertainment. We eat to replace other actions that we can't fulfill. I'll be looking forward to that series. Grok on!

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July 20, 2011
7:17 am
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Anastasia:

Absolutely! Understanding the difference between satiation and satiety helps us understand a lot of problems, including why snacks don't substitute for meals. And that's just the beginning.

Calvin:

Yes, experiences absolutely do affect our likes -- and even our perception of satiation. It's fascinating, and it's one of the reasons this has turned into a multi-part epic.

Thank you for buying a copy of The Gnoll Credo! It will change your world, and you've helped keep gnolls.org updated and ad-free.

Bodhi:

I'll definitely be touching on the issues you mention. Good to see you again!

JS

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July 20, 2011
1:59 pm
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
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An interesting second chapter - I didn't think the first part could be developed that much further but the first most important notion to me from that first part is that fine tuning can and should be made even within a largely no-brainer dietary regimen like paleo.

Understanding likes and wants, and understanding that satiation can be tricked is vitally important in achieving proper satiety. I often make up small taster dishes and we like to eat a few smaller courses rather than one large course. That variety can quickly add up to satiation; the trick, if that is the right word, is putting together meals of any style, any number of courses that do not require the body to be fed again after an hour or so.

This second part has that detail.

After reading the article, I find myself thinking very much along the same lines as Bodhi - the psychology of food is very powerful, for both sexes, for the same and very different reasons.

I do like your phrase, "Any animal whose faulty perceptions and motivations caused it to become obese, emaciated, malnourished, or poisoned by excess would have been strongly selected against" ... Mark Sisson briefly raises the notion of passing on broken genes through reproduction in his 'The Primal Blueprint'. I've touched on it before about how reproduction is now seen as a right in the western world, whether or not the offspring can be afforded, provided for, cared for or raised well. Breeding a downward spiral in our species or future genus seems inevitable. Time for a new homo species?

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Living in the Ice Age http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk
July 20, 2011
2:08 pm
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
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... while we're on "broken animals", it seems we (well, "you") are so at odds with ourselves that we're now officially quite broken in our minds as well as bodies: http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/07/16/036230/Mass-Psychosis-In-the-USA ... I can laugh, but shudder because "we're" next - the UK seems to follow the US and ride that crest for Europe.

Thankfully some of our species are quite well. Are we the new supermen?

Did you catch that article on MDA around how barefooters gain all manner of electrical charge from the earth? We already know our prioperception is significantly enhanced, but are we gaining superhuman powers from our lifestyle? Time for a new species!

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Living in the Ice Age http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk
July 20, 2011
4:29 pm
lynn
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I have experienced what you are saying first hand... I cannot remember ever feeling ful from a meal and could eat more as I was cleaning up the dishes. I was constantly hungry. I started eating Paleo/Low carb a few weeks ago. What a relief to NOT FEEL LIKE I AM ON EDGE all the time. I feel relaxed, & rarely think about food. Relief is a small word for what I now feel like.
This week is our 4H county fair. I had to be out there every day to man a booth for a couple of hours.. Elephant ears abound. Every fried,sweet,cold and creamy confection you can think of is there.Cinnamon wafts through the air.

But... There are also 4H booths that sell 4H raised pork chops, rib eye steaks, Roasted rabbit legs.

It is 100 degrees here and a cold giant ice cream cone sounds fabulous, but the feeling of hunger that will haunt me for days after eating it is not worth one bite of it.

There is a church booth that is giving away free ice water and I know how 4H animals are raised. I am having a great week. No need to grocery shop this week. I have had rabbit,sirloin tips, pork shops...In the morning I hit a church booth and have two eggs over easy and a small steak.
I have only had to eat twice a day, cause I am not hungry. I do not think about food.- I feel incredible.

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July 20, 2011
5:03 pm
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Paul:

This is just the beginning.  Now that I've laid the theoretical groundwork we can start tackling problems.

And we are absolutely deteriorating as a species.  Most mutations are deleterious...so the general trend is towards impaired function, impaired health, and susceptibility to disease.  Natural selection is the reason life didn't deteriorate into dysfunctionality hundreds of millions of years ago: non-impaired individuals reproduced at a higher rate than impaired individuals, so impairments were selected against.  

No longer.  No impairment is selected against in the Western world, and the only thing we are selecting for is fecundity.

However, speciation takes a long time...humans and Neandertals were still able to interbreed after hundreds of thousands of years.  I don't see a Morlock/Eloi situation.

lynn:

Yes.  "Feeling full" is a component of satiation.  Getting satiation back in line with satiety is a necessary step for sustainable healthy eating.  I'll be talking about this more next week.

JS

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July 20, 2011
8:14 pm
Fmgd
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Great article. I was having a discussion a few days ago about meal frequency with some friends and how one of them felt like eatig 6 times a day or so while me and the other one mostly eat twice.

They both argued lots of smaller meals are supposedly better. I haven't looked much into it, but I wonder how much of that has to do with what people usually eat and this disbalance between the factors you mentioned.

Anyway, very goo article, looking forward to the next ones.

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July 20, 2011
11:58 pm
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Fmgd:

The advice to "eat every few hours" has a lot to do with eating foods that don't produce satiety.  If you satiate yourself, you'll stop eating...but if you haven't been sated, you'll be hungry again once your body digests enough of your food to realize that and send that signal.  Can you see why I draw the distinction between the two?

Again, we'll be into the consequences next week.

JS

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July 21, 2011
1:38 am
eddie watts
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the argument on 6 smaller meals vs 3 larger is laid out on leangains.com but basically it is because when you eat metabolism is spiked (TEF)

problem being is that the amount your metabolism is boosted is directly related to the amount of calories you consume (different macros also have effect, but i'm not sure we know exactly how beyond protein does it more)
so if you eat 2500 over 6 meals or 3 meals the boost in metabolism will be the same over the course of a day.

plus advice to take in aminos every 3 hours for lean muscle gains is something spead about by supplement companies as it helps sell their products.

looking forward to next installment!
http://www.leangains.com/2010/10/top-ten-fasting-myths-debunked.html this is the article

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July 21, 2011
4:13 am
eddie watts
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on that note i think a lot of satiety issues occur with processed foods simply because more of the weight is actually calorific.

steak is roughly 10% weight as fat and 20% protein, 70% water and other non-caloric "stuff"
cheese is 25% protein 35% fat so 40% water.(or other non-caloric stuff)
whereas crisps are 100% caloric load (plus salt and stuff) which is probably where these food producs bypass body signals.
plus the whole empty calorie thing all starch which we have no requirement for whereas fat and protein we have requirements for

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July 21, 2011
8:13 am
Fmgd
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Eddie, Stanton,

Thanks. Also, I've noticed some research correlating (yeah, I know) more regular meals with lower BMI. Besides the usual confounding factors, I wonder if having food lower in nutrients in a more spread pattern doesn't mean when you do get to eat you might over compensate, or if the mechanism for that wouldn't be affected that way.

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July 21, 2011
11:53 pm
Jade
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After spending a few months there, I actually got to start liking natto. Never did crave it though, as I did many other things I can't technically say I "like." Chicken heads and oysters are among them. I don't enjoy eating them, but I sure as hell want them...

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July 22, 2011
3:39 am
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eddie:

There are many components to satiety and many problems with processed foods, of which density is just one of them.  I'll be talking about those soon!

Fmgd:

What is meant by "more regular meals"?  More meals, or meals eaten at more regular times?

Jade:

Something I'll be talking about as this progresses is the fact that experience can modify our likes and wants, and we can consciously choose to disregard (to some extent) our likes and wants, which we call "restraint".  But counting on restraint is generally a bad idea in the long run, as we see by the fact that most diets don't stick: people lose weight and then gain it all back.  

JS

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July 22, 2011
5:46 am
Melissa
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Mind over milkshakes: mindsets, not just nutrients, determine ghrelin response. Crum, A. J. et al., Health Psychology 2011 Jul;30(4):424-429.

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July 22, 2011
12:54 pm
Evan
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Could you possibly cover how the concepts of being sated/satiated would apply to intermittent fasting (16/8, 20/4, etc versions)?

My n=1 evidence shows that I become satiated after eating my "first" meal (lets say, 12oz ribeye) but I can still eat more, and do, shortly after (30 min to 3 hrs later). Basically, I eat a lot in a short time span.

Also - would this mean that the body would actively seek to maintain its current body mass (aka: set point theory)? Put another way, I haven't received enough nutrients/calories/etc to maintain 500lbs, thus I require more, signal hunger cue?

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July 22, 2011
3:15 pm
eddie watts
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fmgd: check the link i posted above and he goes into that in good detail.
initially most of the epidemiological studies will have picked up on a certain type of person who eats more regularly: those with weight loss goals who also exercise don't eat crap and count calories, compared to the people who eat 3 squares and of course they will weigh less.

the other thing is that meal skippers (breakfast typically) are often the people who will then grab a donut or other high sugar junk food item, compare them to 3 squares and they'll probably score higher BMI's, but compare them to deliberate IFers and you're likely to get a totally different result.

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July 22, 2011
8:00 pm
Fmgd
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Stanton,

I meant to type "more, regular meals", as in more meals in regular intervals.

Eddie,

Thanks. I had read it already, and those are the "usual confounding factors" I meant.

@Both of you,

I haven't made yself clear, sorry. My question is basically if having low satiety for a long time would mean a spike in want which would in turn (and this is the link I'm not completely sure of) make satiation harder to attain, maybe even (at least) in part due to a higher reward in the diminishing returns scenario.

I just realised I'm kinda asking if prolonged hunger can make one overeat lol

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July 23, 2011
2:33 pm
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 365
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June 5, 2011
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Throwing something into this potential reply, it is often said that if you eat slowly you feel full on less food. Gorging when you're hungry, as in packing down as much food as you can in as short a time as you can will lead to feeling full without necessarily getting to the point that your body has all it will need for a few hours. Eat more slowly and you might reach that point long before you've finished the mass of food in front of you. So long as it's "real food".

Since going paleo, I use the following as my indicator - if I've eaten a meal and I long for a dessert, I have not made a "good meal". I learn from that and adjust the proportions accordingly for the next meal, savouring hunger in between. Read J's post on ghrelin! If I make a meal and I am not fulfilled, bodily, I have failed. That said, our primitive man might well have been in that situation often and relied more upon simply stuffing himself as full of fresh meat as he could, gnawing on some plants later on when the desire to eat more (variety) hit him.

I'm not answering anything here, just dropping something more into the dish Wink

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Living in the Ice Age http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk
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